Just Wing It! My First Experience Cooking a Whole Chicken

I have a confession to make: Last week was the first time I have ever bought chicken outside of a grocery store.

There are lots of seemingly good reasons to buy store-bought chicken, and until a few weeks ago I didn’t really see a problem with it.

Then, I had a conversation with David from Skinny Kitty Farms.

IMG_3031He explained the differences between Skinny Kitty’s slow-grown chickens and the traditional grocery store chicken, including the organic, free-range, and cage-free varieties. I won’t go into the details here, but trust me… There is a big difference.

The biggest selling point on Skinny Kitty chicken for me was when we were looking at the frozen birds David brought to the market to sell. He picked one up and said, “This one was probably a rooster. I can tell because it has long legs.” It was a weird little bit of trivia, but it showed me the value in being able to speak face-to-face with the grower of my food.

I decided then and there that the next week, I was going to purchase and cook my first whole chicken, and it was not going to come from a store.

IMG_3013The chicken I bought from Skinny Kitty was about 3 1/2 pounds and cost me $18. I have a family of 4.  I bought the chicken first thing at the market Saturday and let it sit out for the morning (it was a cold day) then put it in the fridge to finish thawing. By noon the next day it was thawed and ready to cook. Skinny Kitty packages their chickens as pictured on the right. I put a large serving tray under my chicken so it would’t make a mess when I opened it. It was easy to get out of the packaging and there was not very much extra liquid in the package.

I used the instructions on Skinny Kitty Farms’ website www.skinnykittyfarms.com as a starting point for cooking my chicken. They have some great instructions for first-timers.

There were no innards to worry about and the chicken was pretty much completely ready to cook. I used a pastry brush to coat my chicken in olive oil and seasoned it with rosemary and sage. Around that time, my three-year-old came in the kitchen, and to my surprise he was totally into helping me prep the chicken. It turned out to be a fun, educational experience for him, and he was really excited to eat the dinner he helped me prepare later on.

We put the chicken in a 6 quart crock-pot and added red potatoes, carrots, a chopped onion, garlic, and some celery. We also added about 2 cups of water. I set the crock pot on low and cooked the chicken for about 6 hours. It was probably done a little sooner than that, but even after 6 hours it was still moist.

My kids were super excited to both get a drumstick and my husband and I each had some breast meat. I scooped all the chicken and vegetables out of the crock pot, and immediately after dinner I pulled the remaining meat off the bones and put them back in the crock pot on low with more water and some onions to make stock.

The next night, I scooped the stock into glass jars and froze it (I left space for the stock to expand when it froze). I shredded the remaining chicken and made enchiladas for the first time from scratch. They were fantastic, and this was a great way for our family to use the dark meat, because we don’t tend to eat it by itself.

All in all, I got two family dinners and 2 1/2 quarts of chicken stock out of my chicken. I had less dishes than I normally would from 2 meals and the prep time was about 15 minutes both nights.

IMG_3036

This was really surprising to me, because I thought cooking a whole chicken was going to be a ton of work. Planning dinners around a whole chicken may be hard if you don’t make a menu in advance, but since I usually do that I had no problem being able to use it all in 2 days.

Honestly, the only thing I wish I would have done differently is buy a bigger chicken.

It would have been nice to have some more leftovers to put on salads or make pulled chicken sandwiches with for lunches.

Thank you, Skinny Kitty Farms, for taking the time to educate me about your product and for encouraging me to try something new. What you do is important and appreciated!

-Jessica White

Skinny Kitty Farms is a vendor at the Marysville Farmers Market for the 2016 season.

 

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